Integrating an NTD with one of "The big three": combined malaria and trachoma survey in Amhara Region of Ethiopia

PLoS Negl Trop Dis. 2008 Mar 19;2(3):e197. doi: 10.1371/journal.pntd.0000197.


Background: Amhara Regional State of Ethiopia has a population of approximately 19.6 million, is prone to unstable and epidemic malaria, and is severely affected by trachoma. An integrated malaria and trachoma control program is being implemented by the Regional Health Bureau. To provide baseline data, a survey was conducted during December 2006 to estimate malaria parasite prevalence, malaria indicators, prevalence of trachoma, and trachoma risk factors in households and people of all ages in each of the ten zones of the state, excluding three urban centers (0.4% of the population).

Methodology/principal findings: The study was designed to provide prevalence estimates at zone and state levels. Using multi-stage cluster random sampling, 16 clusters of 25 households were randomly selected in each of the ten zones. Household heads were interviewed for malaria indicators and trachoma risk factors (N = 4,101). All people were examined for trachoma signs (N = 17,242), and those in even-numbered households provided blood films for malaria parasite detection (N = 7,745); both thick and thin blood films were read. Zonal malaria parasite prevalence ranged from 2.4% to 6.1%, with the overall state-wide prevalence being 4.6% (95% confidence interval (CI): 3.8%-5.6%). The Plasmodium falciparum: Plasmodium vivax ratio ranged from 0.9-2.1 with an overall regional ratio of 1.2. A total of 14.8% of households reported indoor residual spraying in the past year, 34.7% had at least one mosquito net, and 16.1% had one or more long-lasting insecticidal net. Zonal trachoma prevalence (trachomatous inflammation follicular [WHO grade TF] in children aged 1-9 years) ranged from 12.6% to 60.1%, with the overall state-wide prevalence being 32.7% (95% CI: 29.2%-36.5%). State-wide prevalence of trachomatous trichiasis (TT) in persons aged over fifteen was 6.2% (95% CI: 5.3-7.4), and 0.3% (95% CI: 0.2-0.5) in children aged 0-14 years. Overall, an estimated 643,904 persons (lower bound 419,274, upper bound 975,635) have TT and require immediate corrective surgery.

Conclusions/significance: The results provide extensive baseline data to guide planning, implementation, and evaluation of the integrated malaria and trachoma control program in Amhara. The success of the integrated survey is the first step towards demonstration that control of priority neglected tropical diseases can be integrated with one of the "big three" killer diseases.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Animals
  • Child, Preschool
  • Ethiopia / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Malaria / epidemiology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mosquito Nets
  • Prevalence
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Trachoma / epidemiology*
  • Young Adult